WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 29TH, 2021
TOPIC: EARTHLY WISDOM AND HEAVENLY WISDOM
BY T. O. BANSO
“This wisdom is not from heaven, but is of the earth and the flesh and the Evil One” (James 3:15 Bible in Basic English).
Wisdom is defined as “The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them” (KJV Dictionary). Also, Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines wisdom as, “Ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding.”
In James 3:13-17, the Bible talks about two kinds of wisdom: demonic wisdom and heavenly wisdom. In other words, wisdom that is no from above and wisdom that is from above; the wisdom that is from the devil and the wisdom which is from God.
James 3:13-15 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic” (New King James Version).
Take note of the description of this kind of wisdom that the apostle James first talks about. He says it is not from above (not from heaven or God); it is earthly, sensual, and demonic. He adds that where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there
The New Living Translation presents what James says about demonic wisdom this way: “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise! But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil” (James 3:13-15).
The Wisdom which is not from God that the New King James describes as “earthly, sensual, demonic”, the New Living Translation describes as “earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil.” They are both saying the same thing. In the real sense of the word, this is not wisdom. “This wisdom is not from heaven, but is of the earth and the flesh and the Evil One” (James 3:15 Bible in Basic English).
The earthly or sensual wisdom is not from God; it is from the devil, and, therefore, it cannot be good. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17 New King James Version).
Demonic wisdom is not wisdom. But since this is what some people call wisdom and what they live by, it must be distinguished from the second type of wisdom that James 3:13-17 talks about. James 3:17-18 says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (New King James Version).
If you contrast the two kinds of wisdom, you will see the difference. The “earthly, sensual, demonic wisdom” has to do with bitter envy and is self-seeking while the wisdom from above (from God) is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy. Jude 19 talks about sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. These must have been living by sensual wisdom – earthly wisdom, not heavenly wisdom.
The apostle Paul also speaks about these two kinds of wisdom. He said, “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:6-7 New King James Version). The two kinds of wisdom are the wisdom of this age and the wisdom of God.
Which one would you prefer: demonic wisdom or heavenly wisdom? If you’re a child of God, you should choose demonic, earthly, or sensual wisdom. This is the wisdom of this world. 1 Corinthians 3:19 says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’” (New King James Version).
As I said, this is not real wisdom but those who live by earthly wisdom think it is wisdom. But the Bible says, “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise” (verse 18 New King James Version).
Those who live by earthly wisdom need to receive heavenly wisdom, which is the real wisdom. Otherwise, they will their lives as fools thinking they are wise. “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise” (Ephesians 5:15 New Living Translation).
Are you living as fools or as the wise? This depends on whether you have earthly wisdom or heavenly wisdom. God is willing to give anyone who lacks and asks Him for heavenly wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-7 New King James Version).
You need the wisdom from above to reign here on earth. Earthly wisdom cannot take you far. What the heavenly wisdom would do, earthly wisdom cannot do it. Proverbs 4:5-6 says, “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you” (New King James Version).
The Bible’s definition of wisdom is deeper than the world understands of wisdom and no matter the world’s appreciation of wisdom it is still inferior to the Bible’s view on it. In the book of proverbs, wisdom is personified. Proverbs 1:20-22 says, “Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: ‘How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge” (New King James Version). In this scripture, you could see wisdom presented as a “She”, speaking!
Also in chapter 4, wisdom is personified. “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you” (verses 5-9 New King James Version).
As a child of God, live by heavenly wisdom, not earthly wisdom. Remember that the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy. This is how to live if we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to produce His fruits in our lives.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such, there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). When these attributes are evident in our lives, it shows we are living by the wisdom from above, heavenly wisdom. Conversely, the works of the flesh show that we are living by earthly wisdom, sensual wisdom.
The works of the flesh include adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, and revelries. Those who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life? Or are the works of the flesh evident in your life? 1 Corinthians 3:3b says, “For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (New King James Version). This is earthly wisdom.
Reject earthly wisdom; embrace heavenly wisdom. “But the wisdom which is from heaven is first holy, then gentle, readily giving way in argument, full of peace and mercy and good works, not doubting, not seeming other than it is” (James 3:17 Bible in Basic English). If these attributes are not evident in your life, you’re not living by heavenly wisdom.
Romans 12:9 says allow love to be without hypocrisy and abhor what is evil. Also,1 Peter 2:1 says to lay aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking. This is the wisdom of God.
To receive this wisdom from above, you must first receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Saviour. When Jesus comes into your life, wisdom comes in, for Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). He is full of wisdom (Mark 6:2; Matthew 13:54). You will receive wisdom from Him.
Furthermore, when you receive the Holy Spirit, you also have access to the wisdom of God because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom (Isaiah 11:2). Also, when you feed on the Word of God and obey it, you will receive heavenly wisdom, for the word of God is wisdom (Psalm 19:7; 119:98; Deuteronomy 4:6). The Word of God will make you wise (2 Timothy 3:15). There is no heavenly wisdom without the Word of God (Jeremiah 8:9).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you
PRAYER POINTS: I reject the wisdom that is not from heaven, but is of the earth, the flesh and the Evil One. I receive the wisdom that is from heaven. Father, baptize me with heavenly wisdom. Holy Spirit, I receive wisdom from you. Father, as I study Your Word, which is able to make me wise, help me to live not as fools but as the wise.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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